Almost there...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

One Month To Go!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Work Isn't Sucking

So, after many months of boredom and feelings of major dead-ends at work, things started coming back to life here last week. Things got much busier because fall enrollment opened. This led to some entertaining HelpSU tickets. I think my personal favorite came from a Symbolic Systems student:
Axess's course search/browse feature is frankly atrocious. It is written in a bizarre and suboptimal manner.

From a search result list, the link to a Detail view is not a hyperlink, but rather a javascript action. However, this javascript action sets variables in a form, then posts the form! The variables transmitted in this form could easily have been GET variables instead. Furthermore, not that much information needs to be transmitted to view details for a particular course. in particular, all you need is its primary key in the database -- that's only ONE variable.

The javascript POST'ing breaks the most useful feature of the old axess: you could do a search to open a big list of many courses, then for courses you wanted to read more about, you could right-click and "Open in new window". Many, many students used this.

The current system performs so miserably that it is extremely difficult and frustrating to use.


Now, sure, there was no actual question there. And there's little or nothing we can do about his complaints since we're now using PeopleSoft delivered functionality. So I told him I'd pass on his comments, but that he should probably forward it to PeopleSoft/Oracle as well as it is their design.

Anyway, I also had another interesting ticket about the Law Lottery, so I asked, and it turns out this process has never been documented. So now I'm in charge of documenting it. Max and I sat down for an hour and a half and went over what he knew. Next I'm going to go talk to the Law School registrar and see what she can add and what questions she can answer. Then I get to document it all and present it to the team next week. Sounds like fun to me. (Yes, I'm weird.) Also, Anh is leaving the team, and she was previously scheduled to teach the Grad Admissions course on October 13th. Now that falls to me. We started going over the classroom materials and basically it turns out they're all painfully out of date and in desperate need of revision. So, next stop is to revise the manual, take out the excess flotsam, and get it reprinted before the class. This should be fun. Also, I'm teaching SA Basics again on Thursday, and after that I'll have gone through enough of the existing manuals to justify revising that course and getting those reprinted as well.

So basically I went from bored out of my skull to having lots and lots to do very suddenly. This makes me much happier at work. Add to that a potential coup I'm currently stirring (involving my finding a way to create a new team and place myself as the lead), and maybe, just maybe, I can grind my job back into something I want to have. I mean, leaving Stanford would have some pretty big down sides. Where else am I going to get 4 weeks of vacation a year, plus 3 days of PTO, plus 2 weeks of sick leave?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Meme Goodie

Katharine Hepburn
You scored 16% grit, 28% wit, 42% flair, and 23% class!

You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You
go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand
head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing
and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or
conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common
sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet.
You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the
screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who
like strong women.


Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the
Classic Leading Man Test.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on grit
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 36% on wit
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 72% on flair
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 45% on class
Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Happy Birthday Fred!

Well Rick's instant birthday party was such a success that Fred took that lead and we had an impromptu birthday dinner and a movie for him last night on his actual birthday (note, his real birthday party will be October 8th, which is a far more normal time scale for Fred's birthday party).

So, dinner at Nola's including yummy raspberry mojitos, and a teriyaki skirt steak with green beans and garlic mashed potatoes. Plus, the company of several of my very favorite people, including Brooks whom I hardly ever get to see. We followed that up with Nosferatu at the Stanford Theater. It was great, complete with live organist. A fun time was had by all.

I seem to be ramping back up to a normal level of busy-ness again. Tuesday was dinner at home with Fred and Malaya and Monica. Wednesday was Fred's dinner out. Tonight I'm headed to Alameda to help Frank and Janelle do a final cleaning on their apartment. Friday I'm introducing Bob to Firefly (yay!). Saturday I'm going to hit the Gunne Sax outlet and go to the Fezzi's croquet party in the park, or possibly skip Gunne Sax and hit the Fog Faire for 3 hours before croquet. Not sure yet. Depends on how ambitious and wakeful I am Saturday morning. I mean really, can I be Renaissance and Victorian all during one daylight span? Hmm... Anyway, fun times. Sunday is due to seal the deck and do some weeding. And then it starts all over again. Wheeee!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Geeky Nerd, but not Dorky

Modern, Cool Nerd
65 % Nerd, 69% Geek, 13% Dork

For The Record:
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being
smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or
subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social
expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of:
Modern, Cool Nerd.
Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used
to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a
pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world
that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and
geeky have eeked out for themselves a modicrum of respect at the very
least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent,
knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing
computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one
you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one
up there, winning the million bucks)!
Congratulations!



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 70% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 86% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 4% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Monday, August 22, 2005

Workity work work work

After last week's utter boredom, this week is starting as crazy as expected, with all the little eager beavers trying to log in and sign up for classes today, finding problems, and writing HelpSU requests starting at 12:25 this morning. (You could officially start signing up for classes at 12:01am.) It was a very busy day, punctuated by a birthday lunch out for my coworker Christina. Add in fining out about the Stanford Advanced Project Management certification program (that hopefully I'll start shortly), a 1:1 with my manager, and now all the sudden it's 7pm. Time to go!

It was a fun and highly productive weekend though. Justin posted a request for assistance on Monica's new computer class curriculum. Designing a 7th grade computer class sounded like fun to me, so I replied that it's too bad they live in Sac, because I'd love to go over it over drinks on Saturday night. He said, "Oooh let's do it!" and suddenly we had a big weekend plan. They helped us paint our dining room. We helped her plan her computer class and come up with a year's worth of vocab lessons. It rocked. We celebrated with strawberry margaritas and dinner at Chevy's. All was good in the world.

And now I have a green dining room, and I like it a lot. So yeah, productive. Been way productive lately - home and work. Tonight, I'm gonna go veg out in front of the tv with Joan of Arcadia.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Flowers!

Just got flowers from my sweetie. They're so pretty! With irises and snapdragons and delphinium and daisies and two of the plumpest fire and ice roses I've ever seen. And it all smells so good. And wheeeeeee! I do so love that boy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mowed the Lawn

Funny story. My mom never let me/made me mow the lawn because she was worried I'd hurt myself. And I'm not an Pleasant Valley Sunday kind of gal. I mean, I don't do sun. Before there was such a thing as goth, I typified it. (Okay, so modern goths have substantially refined the look, but there was me, black clad, glaring white skin, only going out at night...) It's maybe once a year I'm seen outdoors without my legs covered. So we initially hired a gardener here, in this, the first house I've ever lived in where the household was responsible for the lawn. Then I made Rick mow the lawn. But tonight it was going to be well after dark before he got home, and tomorrow is garbage/garden clipping pickup day. So I thought, I can do this. I can mow the lawn. And I did. It went well, until I hit the lawn sprinkler. Thankfully, it missed me entirely, but pieces did fly all the way out to the street. Rick says you're supposed to do a walk around to check for obstacles before you mow. Oh. He also says I'm not allowed to mow the lawn anymore. Oh well. Considering the post-mowing sneezing fit, I'm not going to complain much about that pronouncement. And heck, my lawn is pretty now, clippings are piled, and no one died. Um, yay?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Google No Go

Ah well, my initial impression was accurate. I didn't come out of the second interview feeling like it was a great meeting of minds, and my impression wasn't wrong. I got a call back from Nina, the recruiter, she said that they'd decided not to move forward, based largely on my lack of background in media and sales. Okay. But sad now. I just got out of meeting not ten minutes before and was thinking to myself, "I don't see a place where I want to fit into this orgnization. I've really got to step up the job hunting and find a better fit." What I really want out of work is three very simple things:
- that it is challenging
- that I feel like I can do a good job
- that I feel like the work I do is appreciated
I don't see that happening in the Administrative Systems group at Stanford. So now the only question is go back to school and continue to coast career-wise here in this job, or go beat down a path career-wise? I guess the next 30 days will tell. Meanwhile, back to the job hunt, at least with a clear head that Google is off the table.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Baby Menace

I feel safer every time I fly knowing that babies are being scrutinized on their way through the airport. Gotta watch out for those toddlers. They're just bursting with testosterone and righteous anger, and they're gonna bomb us all to oblivion just as soon as they learn to tie their shoes.

Oh wait, NO I DON'T!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Happy Birthday Rick!

It's Rick's birthday, and it's going well. He liked his presents, which he opened before we went to bed a bit after midnight. He headed off to work to finish a thing at ICT and off to DoubleFine in the city. I decided to invite friends to join us for dinner and tubbing, but decided late yesterday. Still, Fred, Malaya, Cyrus, and Athena were all up for dinner and a soak. So, I'll collect Rick from the train station and head to dinner at Buca di Beppo followed by tubbing at Watercourse Way. It's odd looking back at how close to ending things with Rick just earlier this year. I guess sometimes you have to reach a breaking point before you can start walking back from the edge. We're happier than we've ever been, settling in to home life and loving our cat. It's pretty perfect, if a lot more low-keyed than I ever expected my life to be. So here's to a picture perfect birthday for my sweetie. He's 37. And yes, he keeps saying "I'm not old! I'm thirty-seven!" It's cute.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Tim Minear, Joss Whedon's frequent partner for television, is working on an adaptation of Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". This is one of my favorite Heinlein books (right up there with Time Enough for Love) and I'd love to see what the guy who came up with Wonderfalls would do with it. It's funny, because just yesterday I was thinking about how I wish they'd do Methuselah's Children as a movie, because it's short enough to work. Moon has the downside of not being as short or simple, but I'd trust Tim Minear to do it justice.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Day Snippets

I woke up this morning with not one, but two cats curled up on my head. Dixie stayed the weekend, and though I sometimes worry about how rough Pixel and Dixie play, but at the end of the day, they end up curled up together, Pixel licking Dixie's ear. This morning, that included two kittens curled up trying to share my pillow with my head. My head lost. Good thing we keep a spare pillow on the bed these days.

I had a pile of fresh produce for lunch. A gorgeous sweet nectarine. A basket of strawberries. An ear of corn. It was delicious and I was stuffed. More corn for dinner.

The downside of the day was not checking the training database for my class until after five. I wanted to get the HelpSU tickets done first, but they kept coming, and they kept being complicated. I had to submit 8 development tickets, where on a normal day, there's maybe one or two. So, I didn't get it all done as fast as I needed to. I logged in, started to walk through the first transaction, and got a nasty SQL error. Now I get to go back at 8am and pray we can figure it out in 2 hours before the class starts. Yuck.

But for now, leftover ribs and corn.

Closet Organizers

Rick has been bemoaning the state of the closet in the bedroom since we arrived, saying it's not usable in its oridinary configuration - one long closet pole with a shelf above it. Last weekend he declared he was going to put in a closet organizer on Sunday. Last Sunday, we went shopping, and while I didn't think any of this was necessary, I went along for the ride. Once we started looking, I started thinking maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. We found one interesting design at Home Depot, but it came in a titanium finish and we wanted white, so we made a pilgrimage up to Lowe's in Fremont. That was totally unsuccessful, and on the way home, we blew threw the horror that is WalMart on a Sunday. Oddly enough, in their pathetic and paltry closet organization section, they seemed to have just the right thing for our closet. It's a cubby hole tower with poles on either side. In our closet, two of these containers became two floor to ceiling cubby hole containers, double poles through the center, and a single pole for hanging long things on each end. We got it all installed before taking a dinner break with Ari.

The dinner break introduced us to the yummy barbecue place across the street from her current place in Los Gatos. Being the decadent souls we are, we hopped next door to Crimson for dessert. With full bellys and warm hearts, we headed home to reload our closet.

The reload was very successful. I now have cubby holes full of trousers and overalls and sweaters. I have a daily wear section and a spot for dresses and long skirts and my shoes are all neatly put away on their shelves. Rick has a nice space for his stuff so that it doesn't get crushed and wrinkled and he can get in and out of his sock drawer without getting shirt tails caught in it. It all went together very nicely and I'm really glad he insisted on doing it. Plus, now I get to pick which project to finish next, and I think the dining room ceiling and walls is next on the list.

Cost of closet organizers: less than $100 total. Having a happy Rick just in time for his birthday: priceless.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Heartbroken

Frank and Janelle are moving away to Richland, Washington. This makes me tremendously sad. Janelle is the whole reason I learned to dance and kept at it through the early, ugly, learning stages. Without her Dancers Anonymous, I'd have never gotten started. And over the years she's been one of the most influential and admired people in my life. I've never known anyone so well grounded. And she's also gotten me to do things I would've never tried otherwise, especially Balkan singing. I don't sing. I make a terrible noise when I sing. But Janelle encouraged me to try it at Lark camp, and later organized the women to do it for Lenaea. It was beautiful, and we made the audience cry. I've never before or since been part of something with such perfect beauty. When Frank came into her life, they were such a perfect match. They balanced and completed each other, and both of them have excelled in each other's company. Frank tries hard to pretend he's a mean old man, but he's just about the nicest, kindest, most generous person I know, next to his wife.

A while ago, Frank learned his job in SF would be going away. There was talk of transfer to Tennessee or North Carolina or Iceland. As each of those dissolved, I breathed a sigh of relief. We'd find Frank a new job here. We had to. My hope had been that we could build an in-law unit in our backyard and install them in our household permanently. Researching that, it turns out that isn't really possible because of zoning rules. Then he finally got the official 60 day notice from the company, and now just a few days later, he's been offered a transfer to Richland, Washington. He starts there in 17 days, and they've got to pack up their life and move between now and then. My inner child is having a temper tantrum, screaming NO and kicking inside my head. It's such a short time frame, there's no hope of even getting him interviewed and hired somewhere else.

I'm heartbroken. Janelle has always been friend, foundation, and spiritual guide (for what little sense of spirituality I have). Frank is her perfect match. There will be a big hole left when they're more than an hour out of reach.

Um, does anyone need a well-trained Windows security administrator right now? If so, please speak up.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I'm a Trainer

Got up early this morning to teach the Student Administration Basics class. There I was, bright eyed and chipper at 8am, getting the classroom set up. When the class concluded around noon, it felt like it had been too brief. Sometimes I wonder what job I'm supposed to have. Sometimes I get reminded. There's little I like better than guiding a classroom full of folks through an educational experience - whether that's high school students or administrative users at Stanford or anything else I've ever taught or will teach in the future. This is really what I like doing and I'm good at it.

Now I'm really hoping I didn't blow it with Andrea at Google. Really.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Queue on Fire!!!

So I came in this morning, loaded the queue, groaned, and started into it. It's 1:29, and the queue is now empty. I rock. Gonna go study for the GMAT now.

Google 2nd Phone Interview

Oy. Never interview on a Monday. I feel like I flubbed it this time. Oh well. We'll see if they call back again.

If not, I've got a plan here at Stanford. No, the plan I had last week didn't work out. The queue sucked my soul and my time away and I got little else done. And this week is all going to be about the queue because Jo-Ann is on vacation and I'm covering HR, SA, and Workflow by myself. So plan A? Yeah, not so much. But that's okay. I'll get back on that horse soon, because I had another major brainstorm.

The basic problem I'm having at Stanford is that I'm feeling like I've learned what there is to learn in my current role, and the work is basically redundant. I thrive on having something more to learn and something to challenge me to work better and faster.

So what if that learning wasn't at work? What if I went back to school? I'm looking at taking the GMAT before the September 15th deadline for application to the San Jose State MBA program. If accepted, I could start that in the Spring term. And wouldn't that be interesting? It would also be dependent on staying here in my current role which I can do without any special burden, usually in 8 hours a day.

That leaves me in a decent position. If Google calls back, then hooray! I get the job of my dreams. If not, I stay put and try to dive back into learning from a different angle. Either way, it's all good.